Enough is Enough – The Fallout From The Gay Marriage Vote

 Election, Featured, Gay Issues, Places, Politics, Society, Tampa  Comments Off on Enough is Enough – The Fallout From The Gay Marriage Vote
Nov 172008
 

Maybe, finally gay people have decided that enough is enough when it comes to having second-class citizenship foisted upon us by krazy kristian kooks. Across the country Saturday were a series of rallies decrying the enactment of three marriage amendments on election day which enshrine discrimination in the Constitutions of Florida, Arizona and California. As angry as we may all be, we should not be surprised at the outcome. There is no leadership within the gay community, and practically no community left anyways. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has become a parody, and while I respect the work done by Equality Florida, they too have been totally ineffective.

Let’s take a look at some of what happened on election day. There are a number of factors that lead to the passage of these amendments. None of it should have come as a surprise, and some of it ain’t pretty.

The Mormon Church
The Mormon Church has become very much a focal point for the anger of the gay community, and they don’t like it. It’s been estimated that nearly $20m in funding for the Yes on 8 campaign in California came from people affiliated with the Mormon Church. It also appears the Church itself, in violation of a number of election laws, may have provided in-kind services such as phone banks and material support. Make no mistake, the LDS Church was a big part of the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

They have previously been active in campaigns to institutionalize the same kind of hate in Hawaii. I find it intriguing that a Church which used to (and to some extent still does) condone Polygamy, used to exclude African-Americans from membership, and were themselves persecuted, have now taken it on themselves to support bigotry and hatred around marriage rites.

“Everyone in the United States has a legal right to protest, which we support fully,” said Waterford Clayton, president of the Newport Beach stake LDS. “This is not about sexual preference. This is about the moral standing of marriage.” (Get it, the Mormons, of all people, are lecturing the rest of us on the “moral standing of marriage.”)

Something went wrong this time though. In an internal church document ([download#1]), the church made it clear they were pleased that the leaders of the Hawaii initiative were not being associated with the Church. This time though, the word of their unprecedented sponsorship did not go unnoticed, and now the LDS has the gall to whine and complain about being called out for it. Sorry guys, but that’s how that messy old thing called Free Speech works. I may not like your message, but I defend your right to say it, but it also means you have to make room for my speech as well, even if you don’t like the content. The Mormon Church has every right to take a stand against Gay Marriage, but Gay people then have a right to take a stand against any institution that supports hatred.

When people are angry, they need a focal point for their anger. There are lots of reasons and people and groups responsible for the outcomes on election day, but the Mormon Church is serving as a good focal point for the anger, and I’m OK with that for now, but at some point we will need to move beyond blame.  Continue reading »

Oct 262008
 

An article at the Florida Bilerico project points out the lengths to which the American Taliban will go in order to scare people. John Stemberger, lead proponent of Florida’s Amendment 2, is claiming that if Amendment 2 fails, the schools will have to indoctrinate children to gay marriage.

John Stemberger

John Stemberger

Failing to ban gay marriage in the state constitution could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle. Florida schools might have to teach that gay weddings are the same as traditional unions if the proposal fails at the polls.

In the first place, there remain four (one wasn’t good enough for the American Taliban) Florida statutes on the books which prohibit gay marriage, and they will still be on the books after this election. They have been challenged in court, and have, so far, stood a state constitutional examination.

In the second place, when the hell did any teaching of “marriage” enter the school curriculum anyway…straight or gay? I admit to forgetting a lot, and it’s been a long time since I was in school, but I just don’t remember ever being taught “marriage.” But hey, if you’re crazy and desperate, anything goes, right?

And on top of all that, despite being an attorney (or maybe because of it), Stemberger and Florida4Marriage.com are being accused of violations of campaign finance laws. It seems that political organizations must disclose from whence comes their funding. Well Stemberger, who incorporated Florida4Marriage, also incorporated Florida Family Action as a not-for-profit. As such Florida Family Action would not have to disclose their donors. Now it turns out that Ads being run in favor of Amendment 2 say they are paid for by Florida4Marriage, but it turns out they actually paid for by Florida Family Action.

In fact, Florida Red and Blue, who filed the complaints, has a memo written by Stemberger encouraging people to donate to Florida Family Action rather than Florida4Marriage. When he was asked about it, The Florida Times Union reported the following:

Stemberger said having donors contribute to the lobbying group is proper and understandable – especially considering past backlash against donors like Amway Corp. founder Richard DeVos, a major donor.

“Some people want to remain anonymous. It’s because of the intimidation of our opponents.”

This to me sounds like an admission of guilt. The law says you can’t hide contributions for this kind of activity, regardless of the reason. The GOP has often been a primary benefactor of these kinds of initiatives, and have been in Florida up to recently. People don’t take actions like this unless they have a good reason to hide something. So let’s make Mr. Stemberger disclose who contributes to both organizations.

Craig and Vitter Sponsor Marriage Protection Amendment

 Constitution, Featured, Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Craig and Vitter Sponsor Marriage Protection Amendment
Jul 022008
 

It’s not really surprising to find that a small group of Republican Senators re-introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. After all, they are mostly behind in the polls, the base is distraught and disorganized, and even fund raising isn’t going so well. I mean even if the bill has no chance of even getting a hearing, nothing gets the blood pumping for krazy kristian kooks like a good homo bashing.

David_Vitter.jpgWhat you might find interesting though is that two of the original 10 sponsors is Larry “I have a wide stance” Craig (R-Idaho) and David “I heart hookers” Vitter (R-LA). Sometimes the silly shit just writes itself. Come on…Larry Craig was caught trying to hook up with a hot cop in an airport Larry Craigrestroom, and David Vitter used to let hookers put him in diapers. Both were married at the time…so just which marriage and family values are we trying to protect here.

These are people who want to pontificate on the sanctity of holy matrimony? They’d better hope St. Peter enjoys irony, and has a sense of humor.

The Day After – Gay Marriage

 Election, Featured, Gay Issues, Politics, Society, The Courts  Comments Off on The Day After – Gay Marriage
Jun 192008
 

Well, it’s the day after the first full day that gay marriage was legal in California, and gosh darn it, the sun came up, birds still sang, children were born, people died, there were even some heterosexual marriages, and I still had to go to work. In other words, if God is mad about it, he sure missed that wrath thing by taking it out on the mid-west. 

We’ve seen the pictures of the two lesbians in San Francisco being one of the first couples married after being a couple for over 50 years. We’ve also seen the completely idiotic protestors. Always with the god made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Please, hire a gay man and get a little creative.

So what’s next for California? It is possible this could all be short lived as there is a ballot measure to be voted on in November that could write discrimination into their state constitution. No one is sure exactly what that would mean for the marriages already performed, as this was obviously not anticipated by the proponents of the amendment since no language was included that would officially address the current situation. For my part, I don’t see how the state could undo something that was fully legal at the time it was done. Let’s say murder was not illegal (insert O.J. joke here), so I killed someone. Then next year they make it illegal. I don’t think it would be legal or right to then charge me for a crime.

As for the amendment itself, I see two possibilities. The marriages will have been going on for nearly six months. So long as there is no major earthquake in California between now and November (for Pat Robertson to use as evidence of God’s displeasure), I think the dust will have settled, and a lot of people will see that it just really hasn’t made any difference. I mean, come on, this argument that somehow straight people will suddenly decide they’re not getting married because Adam and Steve are is just utter bullshit. That’s the best case. The concern is that straight people who are in favor of equal rights, and even gay people will relax a little too much in the afterglow, and let their guard down. Unfortunately, in California only a simple majority is required to pass a constitutional amendment…a foolish thing if you ask me.

VoteNo Does it make a difference here in Florida? There are two things to think about. The most obvious is what impact it might have on our anti-gay marriage amendment. I’ve written briefly about this before. The concern I have is that this does play into the primary argument that marriage opponents always stress…that “activist judges” will overturn the existing state laws against gay marriage, so it has to be put into the Constitution. There are a lot of places in Florida where that argument sells, and it could spark a few people to show up who might not otherwise vote.  Continue reading »

The Battle in Florida is Joined-Amendment #2

 Featured, Gay Issues, Legislature, Places, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society, Tampa  Comments Off on The Battle in Florida is Joined-Amendment #2
Mar 312008
 

This will be the first in what I expect will evolve into a series of articles related to the upcoming election and the vote on Constitutional Amendment #2. This is the krazy kristian kooks attempt to have a large conservative turnout in Florida, so instead of fielding a worthy candidate, they go for the divisive issue. Amendment #2 is, of course, a “marriage protection” amendment for the Florida Constitution.

Continue reading »

News for the Week Ending December 21, 2007

 Crime, Fun Stuff, General, Humor, Society  Comments Off on News for the Week Ending December 21, 2007
Dec 212007
 

We are winding down towards the end of the year, but instead of getting slower, we just got really busy for this week at work. I’ll still do my best to get some stuff posted here for you.

10 Husbands for Florida WomanAP
It seems that  a 26 year old in Miami has married at least 10 husbands between 2002 and 2006. The only problem…it seems she forgot to divorce any of them before marrying the next one. She’s a legal citizen from Cuba, and none of the men she married had any residence status prior to marrying her. Prosecutors say she charged her husbands an unspecified amount to help them secure immigration status and continued asking the men for money long after the wedding, threatening to expose them if they didn’t pay.

From the “What Were They Thinking File?”
Earlier this week, a Hillsborough County park ranger was arrested for a second time for having child porn on his computer. He was arrested first when it was found at work and on several external hard drives at home. Once released on bail, he went out and immediately bought another computer and external hard drive.

The Principal at a Polk County elementary school was arrested on charges of possessing child porn on his computer, and Bartow High School teacher was arrested earlier this week for propositioning a female student. This was caught on tape. Turns out this guy had been previously investigated after two girls accused him of kissing them during tutoring sessions. Those charges were never proved, but he was warned.

Horse Rustling in Tampa BayTBO.com
Apparently three horses were stolen earlier this month from a farm in Polk County. They have yet to be found. I’d think it’s pretty tough to hide three horses, but I guess not.

Equal Rights for All

 Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society, The Courts  Comments Off on Equal Rights for All
Oct 282006
 

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled this week that same-sex couples and their families are entitled to the “same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples” under the state’s civil marriage laws. In a 4-3 split, the court rejected the claim that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to have their relationships recognized as “marriages.” Instead, it left that decision “to the democratic process,” ruling that the state legislature must now decide whether to “amend its marriage law to include same-sex couples” or provide these equal benefits, protections, and obligations “by some other means such as civil unions.” This decision is a positive step toward equality, and an affirmation of the importance of committed relationships and healthy families. (The case was brought by seven gay and lesbian couples who have been together from 14 to 35 years, five of whom have children.) The right wing is now trying to use the New Jersey decision to draw a contrast for voters in November’s election, and they’re right, there is a contrast. Some Americans believe in equal rights for all, and some — a shrinking minority — do not.

This week’s decision is consistent with the democratic will of New Jersey voters. The Court’s ruling specifically cites the state’s already “robust set of anti-discrimination protections for gay men and lesbians,” most of which were passed through the legislature. In 2004, state legislators enacted a strong domestic partnership law that granted same-sex couples many of the same financial and legal benefits as married couples. “But the way the laws were written, some rights were still assigned only to ‘married’ couples. The court decision today simply requires that those same-sex partnerships have all of the rights which are given to married couples.” A poll of New Jersey residents taken in June “found that 50 percent said they supported allowing same-sex couples to marry legally, while 44 percent were opposed.”

Conservatives are trying to portray the decision as the work of “radical activists.” But even President Bush, who believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended to discriminate against same-sex couples, has repeatedly said, “I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so.” Indeed, from a “purely legal perspective, the decision is of narrow and limited significance.” The justices state that their intention in this case was not to “consider whether committed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, but only whether those couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits afforded to married heterosexual couples.” Like the Vermont Supreme Court ruling in 1999, their decision is not “binding on any courts outside New Jersey or relevant to any other state’s laws.” The ruling also involves only the protection and benefits of civil marriage — not religious ceremonies. “This case does not affect religious institutions’ freedom to decide if they want to honor and recognize same-sex unions.”   Continue reading »

Jun 252006
 

I’ve let the dust settle some from the recent insistence of Congressional Republicans to throw their “base” a bone. I am referring to, of course, the recent attempt to ingrain discrimination against gay people into the Constitution.

I naturally called my Senators. I expressed by belief to the intern answering the phone in Mel Martinez’s office that protecting marriage was best done by making divorce illegal. I asked her if the Senator would introduce appropriate legislation to make divorce illegal, given his strongly stated desire to “protect marriage.” I guess I might have stumbled across one of the few honest people on Capitol Hill. This young lady told me, “the Senator’s not interested in protecting marriage, he’s interested in protecting the definition of marriage.”

There is something queer about this Senate crusade to outlaw gay marriage. If you listen closely, the leaders who oppose single-sex unions refuse to talk about gay people. They talk about activist judges, welfare rolls, the rights of voters and the birthrate of single mothers in Scandinavia. But there is not a gay man, a lesbian woman or a bisexual teenager in the mix.

Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, a 2008 presidential contender, led the charge for a constitutional amendment on the Senate floor , dominating the debate with a handful of blue-and-white charts that he said showed the need to ban same-sex marriage. He had line graphs, bar graphs and circle graphs. He spoke about French law and Dutch sociology. He went on about the benefits of two-parent families. “It’s important that a child be raised between a loving couple,” Brownback declared, a phrase that seemed, at first, to be an argument in favor of gay marriage. “Developmental problems are less common in two parent families.” He said that welfare encourages out-of-wedlock births and called for more research on marriage. But the Republican senator made no real mention of men who love men or women who love women.

In fact, the principal argument mounted by social conservative leaders like Brownback has more to do with the fragile state of heterosexual marriage than homosexuality. Their convoluted logic works like this: If society approves of long-term homosexual monogamy, then the “institution of marriage” will be weakened. This will lead straight people to abandon monogamy and harm the welfare of the nation’s children, who benefit from stable, two-parent families. “Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them,” explained President Bush in his Monday address to amendment supporters. “And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure.”

This is why Brownback has been spending so much time studying Nordic marriage trends. He believes there is a direct (albeit inverse) correlation between gay marriage and heterosexual fidelity. “Where gay marriage finds acceptance, marriage virtually ceased to exist,” he said in the Senate, reading aloud from one of his big blue-and-white posters, this one labeled “Scandinavia.” “The institution no longer means much of anything.”

These straight-marriage-in-trouble arguments are everywhere in the current debate. They had dominated a press conference in the Capitol, just a few feet off the Senate floor. “When marriage declines, children and society suffer,” explained Matt Daniels, the founder of the Alliance for Marriage, an umbrella group of churches and synagogues that wrote the anti-gay-marriage amendment. “Violent crime, youth crime, welfare dependency and child poverty track more closely with family breakdown than with any other social variable, including race and income level.”

Continue reading »

Moonstruck

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Moonstruck
Jul 212004
 

Moonstruck (1987)

A widowed Brooklyn book-keeper is torn between her fiancé and his brother.

Directed by
Norman Jewison

Genres
Comedy, Romance, Drama

Cast
Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Louis Guss, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Anita Gillette, Leonardo Cimino, Paula Trueman, Nada Despotovich, Joe Grifasi, Gina DeAngeles

DVD

This is probably my favorite movie of all time. Loretta Castorini, a Brooklyn bookkeeper in her late 30s whose husband died several years earlier in a bus accident, decides it’s time to get married again. So she accepts the proposal of a nice, middle-aged fellow named Johnny Cammareri. Loretta is convinced her first marriage was cursed because she and her husband had gotten married at City Hall; this time, she’s determined to do things right, even as she admits to her mother, Rose, that she’s not really in love with Johnny. (To which Rose replies: “Good. When you love them, they drive you crazy, ’cause they know they can.” Rose speaks from rueful experience; she suspects, with good reason, that her husband, Cosmo, is cheating on her.) Loretta is convinced that marrying Johnny is the safe and sure thing to do – until she meets his estranged younger brother Ronny, who tends the ovens in a neighborhood bakery. Loretta discovers that in startling contrast to the pleasant, mild-mannered Johnny, Ronny is moody and passionate; what follows are complications worthy of a comic opera.

‘Moonstruck’ is a love story. There is not one romance, there are at least three, but they all have to do with the same family. Loretta’s family. Loretta (Cher) is about to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello). She doesn’t love him, but he is sweet and good man. When he leaves to visit his dying mother in Italy Loretta meets Johnny’s brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage). He and Johnny haven’t spoken each other in five years and Loretta wants to invite him to the wedding. Of course they fall instantly for each other.

How this story and love stories of Loretta’s parents and uncle and aunt develop is something you simply have to see for yourself. Every seen is a delight to watch, with Cher as the bright star in the middle of everything. She won and really deserved the Oscar that year. Cage is pretty good, and goofy as well, and Olympia Dukakis as Loretta’s mother and Vincent Gardenia as her father are terrific. This movie is funny, charming and therefore highly enjoyable.

Cher and Olympia Ducacus are outstanding in their parts. I don’t like Nicholas Cage, but even he was great in this movie.

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